Silvana Annicchiarico and Jan Van Rossem view digital clocks and timepieces as artificially separated from the time of the natural universe. Whereas the hands of a clock are in their impression a beautiful reproduction of the sun in the sky, timepiece design has transformed our relationship with time.

(…) Time expressed by the clock with hands was once a beautiful reproduction of the natural time calculated by the sun in the sky. On the contrary, today one of the characteristics of the digital clock is to communicate nothing at all of the universe. Perhaps they alert us to the fact that the essence of a timepiece no longer consists in displaying the course of natural time, but only of artificial time, artifact time.

O’clock thinks deeply about this transformation and the relationship between time and design. but this is not an exhibition with a historical approach. It does not seek to document the history of timekeeping diachronically, nor the relationship that the masters of design have had, over time, with instruments, from calendars to clocks, used for measuring time.

O’clock is meant to act as a synchronic survey of the possible relations that some contemporary objects or designs – beginning from about the zero of the new millennium – have with time and the problems connected with it. Thus o’clock appears not so much under aegis of kronos as that of kairos. It does not present a logical or chronological sequence of objects, but an aggregate set of exhibits by the type of perception it triggers, emotions it inflames, thoughts it sparks. Hoping that this can also trigger the occurrence of something in the visitor. (…)

O’clock seeks to give some answers to these questions, by way of enigmatic objects, aesthetic artifacts, ironic projects, playful, philosophical, mechanical, instinctive, existential observations or provocations on the notion of fleetingness.

Annicchiarico, Silvana, and Van Rossem, Jan. 2012. “O’clock. Time Design, Design Time at Triennale Design Museum, Milan.”